Single Review: John Garcia – “My Mind”

Hey, first single review for this blog! Fine, this isn’t really a single review, given that the song in question hasn’t actually been released as a single, but there is at least a video, so I think that’s enough to justify this write-up. Also John Garcia is releasing a solo album, and screw you if that doesn’t get you at least a little excited.

So after all the bands he’s been in – and just to recap, that would be Kyuss, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and Vista Chino, not to mention a metric ton of collaborations with various other artists – John Garcia has finally put together a solo album. Out of all of Garcia’s previous projects, I would say that this song’s spiritual predecessor is easily any of the three albums he released with Hermano, whose sandblasted blues rock often veered between spaced-out stoner jams, rolling grooves and energetic punk rock.

“My Mind” is much the same. Initially it starts with a catatonic wall of guitar over which Garcia lays some seriously impassioned, provocative vocals: “what the hell are you saying? Who in the hell are you talking to?”. It’s a pretty tense start and, to be honest, I don’t think the song would have worked if it was just this for the whole duration, but then it swerves into an awesome, energetic groove built on this terrific strutting riff. You can headbang to it, you can dance, you could just shuffle your shoulders and pull duckface if you like – it’s one of those great stoner riffs that’s so simple yet so catchy you just have to get up and do something to it.

And then there’s the vocals. You know, I think Garcia’s voice must be like a vintage wine, in that it only seems to get better with age (how often did he hit these sorts of high notes with Kyuss, or even Unida?) Somehow he manages to find that right balance between passion and attitude in his vocals. When he sings “won’t you leave me alone?” it’s delivered with this wonderful mix of desperation and forcefulness, as if he’s begging you to just get out of his face before the fists come out. Needless to say, it showcases exactly why we’ve needed a John Garcia solo album.

As for other details, I don’t know who played guitar on this track, but I really like the tone they went with here: somehow gritty and clean at the same time. Sandblasted, you could say, and as I did say before. The contrast between the swaggering verses and the nervy chorus could be a thematic link to the lyrics, which I haven’t exactly got a reference for but which seem to discuss… er, I’m not too sure, actually, but there are themes of isolation and madness that make sense when combined with that video.

It’s not a particularly complex song, though it did trip me up on the first listen by substituting a second verse for an instrumental guitar passage after the chorus (personally I would have liked another vocal verse because, frankly, the more Garcia the merrier, but it’s an interesting choice nonetheless). Perhaps that’s why it works, though, because this song does exactly what it’s supposed to do: kick the barn doors wide open for the album.

Great song, is what I’m rounding all this out to. If you were on the fence about John Garcia going it alone, this should convince you to get interested.

John Garcia is released in the UK on August 4th through Napalm Records. 

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